Emir of Kano’s cousin clashes with Air Peace for not delaying flight for monarch

Aminu Ado Bayero

Isa Bayero, a cousin of the emir of Kano Aminu Bayero, has written a letter of complaint to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), seeking punitive actions against Air Peace for alleged disrespect to the emir and the people of Kano State.

In the petition to the NCAA on Thursday, the emir’s cousin said the airline delayed their Banjul to Lagos flight by over one hour and refused to allow them board their connecting flight to Kano because they arrived in Lagos 30 minutes before departure time.

However, the airline responded to the letter, stressing that it never disrespected the emir of Kano but took actions to protect his image.

The airline’s chief operating officer, Toyin Olajide, in a statement said rather than disrespect the revered monarch, Air Peace did everything to protect his name and image from ridicule by not succumbing to what Bayero wanted.

Olajide said if the airline had agreed to stop and delay an aircraft already set to take-off, for another one hour only for the doors to be opened and the emir to walk in, there would have been a very serious uproar in the media nationwide against both the airline and the emir.

“How could Isa Bayero want the Management of Air Peace to stop and delay a fully boarded plane with doors already shut and aircraft already moving while our respected Emir and eight others in his entourage, including Isa Bayero, were still at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos after arriving from Banjul?” She asked.

Olajide noted that Bayero called the airline’s chairman and CEO Allen Onyema at 5.52am, asking him to delay the airline’s first flight of the day, the 6:15 am Lagos-Kano flight as he and his entourage had just arrived from Banjul, Gambia.

“It was not true that our Chairman refused flatly. He rather told Isa Bayero to give him a few minutes to call the airport to find out the status of the flight. I was the one he called. To show his desire to help, he called me immediately and intimated me with the request,” she continued.

“I am the chief operating officer (COO) of Air Peace. I quickly called the local airport from where we carry on our day to day domestic flight operations and was told that the aircraft had since finished boarding and was almost taxiing out.

“I quickly called Isa Bayero with this information and I expressed our desire to put him, their entourage and the Emir of Kano on our 7.00am Lagos- Abuja flight and that on landing in Abuja, we would then put him on our flight going to Kano at no cost to them. Isa Bayero refused this offer; he insisted that the already taxiing aircraft should be stopped and delayed until the Emir and the other eight persons arrive from the international airport.

“At this point, as stated earlier, Isa Bayero and the Emir of Kano had just landed at the international wing of the airport, this means they would still need to go through Immigration, get their baggage and, of course, clear with Customs before entering the morning Lagos traffic to get to the local wing of the airport. This would mean that the passengers in the plane ready to depart would have to wait in the plane for nothing less than an hour.”

Olajide disclosed that she called Bayero to explain the situation and also to proffer a solution, adding that they decided instead to fly the emir and his entourage on the 7am flight to Abuja and then from Abuja to Kano at no extra cost.

The COO noted that the decision was then to fly them from Abuja to Kano still in the morning considering the next flight from Lagos to Kano was for 7: 00 pm.

She said the airline was shocked to hear that Bayero filed a complaint against it.